Police workforce

The main facts and figures show that:

  • as at 31 March 2018, 93.4% of police officers were White, and 6.6% came from all other ethnic groups
  • between 2007 and 2018, the percentage of police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 3.9% to 6.6% (an increase of 2.7 percentage points)
  • as at 31 March 2018, 3.7% of officers in senior ranks were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 2.8% in 2007 (an increase of 0.9 percentage points)
  • in the population of England and Wales as a whole, 86% of people were White (including White ethnic minorities), and 14% were from all other ethnic groups combined, according to population data from the 2011 Census
Things you need to know

In this data, the police workforce is made up of police officers of all ranks, police community support officers (PCSOs), designated officers, traffic wardens and staff in other roles (referred to in charts and tables as ‘police staff’).

This data focuses initially on police officers, and widens to include the whole workforce.

Figures for the police workforce, including police officers, are based on full-time equivalent (FTE) staff numbers – for example, someone who works 2.5 days a week is counted as 0.5 FTE.

Although the data includes traffic wardens, very few remain in the police workforce following the transfer of this duty to local authorities.

Separately, figures are also presented for special constables – members of the public who volunteer to help the police – although they are not counted as part of the police workforce. Special constable figures are based on a ‘headcount’ – the total number of people in that role, regardless of whether they work part-time or full-time.

Data is derived from the personnel records for the 43 police forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police.

Population estimates are based on the 2011 Census, which are the figures used in most Home Office statistical publications. It is likely that there have been some population changes since 2011 that aren't accounted for in this data. For that reason, these figures should be considered estimates only.

Since the British Transport Police covers all of England and Wales, a rate per population per region has not been calculated. Similarly, the City of London Police serves a very large daytime population compared with its number of residents, so it is not meaningful to show a rate per population for this force.

The percentages given here are based only on those whose ethnicity is known. Ethnicity isn’t known for 2% of police officers, 3% of the total police workforce, and 7% of special constables. Numbers of staff with unknown ethnicity are included in the tables for reference.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of the police workforce coming from the Asian, Black, Mixed, White and Other ethnic groups, and compares it with overall population statistics.

The data is a snapshot taken at 31 March each year.

The data focuses initially on police officers.

Later, figures are shown for the entire police workforce, including:

  • police community support officers (PCSOs) – paid staff who work with police officers and have some police powers, like the power to give somebody a fixed-penalty notice for littering
  • designated officers – paid staff working in specific roles like detention officers and investigation officers
  • traffic wardens - very few of these remain in the police workforce as traffic warden duties are almost entirely transferred to local authorities
  • staff in other roles, referred to in the charts and tables as ‘police staff’ – these are usually civilian roles that don’t require any specific police powers

In addition, data is presented separately for special constables, who are members of the public who volunteer to help the police. Special constables have the same powers as police officers, but are unpaid and not counted in the police workforce statistics.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Staff working for the police in England and Wales report their own ethnicity based on the following 5 broad groups:

  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White (including White ethnic minority groups)
  • Other ethnic group (including Chinese)

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Police officers by ethnicity

Percentage and number of police officers, and percentage of the overall population (at 2011 Census), by ethnicity

Ethnicity % of police officers % of population (2011) Number of police officers
Asian 2.7 6.8 3,266
Black 1.2 3.3 1,424
Mixed 1.9 2.2 2,309
White 93.4 86.0 111,505
Other inc Chinese 0.7 1.7 852
Unknown N/A* N/A* 3,048

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2018, the equivalent of 122,404 full-time police officers were employed in the 43 police forces in England and Wales (excluding the British Transport Police), and 111,505 (93.4%) of those were from the White ethnic group
  • Black people made up 1.2% of police officers, Asian people made up 2.7%, those of Mixed ethnicity made up 1.9%, and 0.7% of officers were from the Other ethnic group (including Chinese officers)

Police officers by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of police officers by ethnicity over time

Asian Black Mixed White Other inc Chinese Unknown
Time % of police officers Number of police officers % of police officers Number of police officers % of police officers Number of police officers % of police officers Number of police officers % of police officers Number of police officers % of police officers Number of police officers
2007 1.5 2,111 1.0 1,350 1.0 1,419 96.1 134,372 0.5 632 N/A* 1,999
2008 1.6 2,231 1.0 1,371 1.1 1,525 95.9 134,000 0.5 656 N/A* 1,920
2009 1.7 2,472 1.0 1,427 1.2 1,699 95.6 135,651 0.5 689 N/A* 1,839
2010 1.8 2,607 1.0 1,446 1.3 1,844 95.3 135,293 0.5 745 N/A* 1,799
2011 1.9 2,582 1.0 1,442 1.3 1,838 95.2 130,870 0.5 754 N/A* 1,625
2012 2.0 2,607 1.1 1,420 1.4 1,871 95.0 125,579 0.6 766 N/A* 1,858
2013 2.0 2,563 1.1 1,361 1.5 1,865 94.9 121,086 0.6 749 N/A* 1,961
2014 2.1 2,665 1.1 1,352 1.5 1,922 94.7 119,071 0.6 776 N/A* 2,124
2015 2.2 2,795 1.1 1,373 1.6 2,028 94.4 117,757 0.6 785 N/A* 2,079
2016 2.4 2,881 1.2 1,433 1.7 2,096 94.1 114,437 0.7 808 N/A* 2,411
2017 2.6 3,104 1.2 1,432 1.8 2,185 93.7 112,953 0.7 841 N/A* 2,616
2018 2.7 3,266 1.2 1,424 1.9 2,309 93.4 111,505 0.7 852 N/A* 3,048

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2007 and 2018, the percentage of police officers from each of the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups increased
  • the percentage of Asian police officers increased from 1.5% in 2007 to 2.7% in 2018 – the increase in Asian police officers was the largest out of all ethnic groups, in both percentage and numerical terms (at 1.2 percentage points and 1,154 officers)

Police officers by ethnicity and area

Percentage and number of police officers, and percentage of the overall population (at 2011 Census), by ethnicity and police force area

Asian Black Mixed White Other inc Chinese Unknown
Police force area % officers % population Number of police officers % officers % population Number of police officers % officers % population Number of police officers % officers % population Number of police officers % officers % population Number of police officers % officers % population Number of police officers
All - excluding BTP 2.7 6.8 3,266 1.2 3.3 1,424 1.9 2.2 2,309 93.4 86.0 111,505 0.7 1.7 852 N/A* N/A* 3,048
Avon & Somerset 0.3 2.1 7 0.3 1.9 7 2.0 1.8 47 97.1 93.3 2,260 0.3 1.0 7 N/A* N/A* 268
Bedfordshire 5.4 13.2 61 1.4 4.8 16 3.3 3.0 37 89.7 77.5 1,002 0.1 1.4 1 N/A* N/A* 14
British Transport Police N/A* N/A* 114 N/A* N/A* 74 N/A* N/A* 75 N/A* N/A* 2,500 N/A* N/A* 12 N/A* N/A* 90
Cambridgeshire 1.2 4.9 16 0.3 1.3 5 1.6 2.0 22 96.7 90.3 1,321 0.2 1.6 3 N/A* N/A* 17
Cheshire 0.4 1.2 8 0.2 0.3 4 0.8 1.0 16 98.5 96.9 1,916 0.1 0.5 2 N/A* N/A* 75
Cleveland 1.3 3.1 16 0.1 0.6 1 0.3 1.0 4 98.1 94.5 1,208 0.2 0.8 2 N/A* N/A* 26
Cumbria 0.3 0.6 3 0.2 0.1 2 0.5 0.5 5 99.1 98.5 1,067 0.0 0.3 not collected N/A* N/A* 18
Derbyshire 2.1 3.6 37 0.2 1.0 4 0.9 1.4 16 96.6 93.3 1,674 0.2 0.7 3 N/A* N/A* 4
Devon & Cornwall 0.2 0.7 4 0.3 0.2 6 0.9 0.9 21 98.4 97.5 2,272 0.2 0.6 5 N/A* N/A* 651
Dorset 0.2 1.4 3 0.2 0.4 2 1.1 1.3 14 98.4 96.0 1,184 0.1 0.8 1 N/A* N/A* 60
Durham 0.5 0.8 6 0.1 0.2 1 1.1 0.7 12 98.2 97.8 1,119 0.1 0.5 1 N/A* N/A* 2
Dyfed-Powys 0.2 0.8 2 0.1 0.2 1 0.9 0.6 9 98.7 98.0 957 0.1 0.4 1 N/A* N/A* 216
Essex 0.3 2.3 10 0.2 2.0 5 1.5 1.6 42 97.8 93.2 2,834 0.2 0.9 6 N/A* N/A* 61
Gloucestershire 0.7 1.8 7 0.4 0.9 4 0.9 1.5 9 97.7 95.4 1,014 0.4 0.5 4 N/A* N/A* 35
Greater Manchester 3.6 9.2 230 0.6 2.8 36 2.0 2.3 129 93.1 83.8 5,902 0.7 2.0 45 N/A* N/A* 7
Gwent 0.7 1.7 9 0.5 0.6 6 0.9 1.0 11 97.7 96.1 1,211 0.2 0.6 2 N/A* N/A* 28
Hampshire 1.0 3.0 27 0.3 0.9 9 1.2 1.6 32 96.9 93.3 2,641 0.6 1.1 16 N/A* N/A* 109
Hertfordshire 1.6 5.7 30 0.7 2.8 14 2.0 2.5 38 95.7 87.6 1,855 0.1 1.4 1 N/A* N/A* 14
Humberside 0.5 1.3 9 0.4 0.5 7 0.6 0.9 10 98.5 96.5 1,758 0.0 0.8 not collected N/A* N/A* 10
Kent 1.2 3.1 40 0.2 1.3 5 1.4 1.6 44 97.0 93.1 3,122 0.2 0.9 8 N/A* N/A* 42
Lancashire 2.5 7.4 70 0.1 0.4 3 1.8 1.1 51 95.4 90.4 2,689 0.2 0.7 5 N/A* N/A* 150
Leicestershire 5.1 15.3 88 0.6 2.4 11 2.0 2.0 35 92.2 78.4 1,599 0.1 1.9 2 N/A* N/A* 43
Lincolnshire 0.5 0.8 5 0.6 0.4 6 0.9 0.9 10 98.0 97.6 1,055 0.1 0.4 1 N/A* N/A* 10
London, City of 2.4 9.2 17 1.6 2.6 11 2.0 3.9 14 93.7 78.6 651 0.3 5.7 2 N/A* N/A* 2
Merseyside 0.4 1.4 14 0.6 1.1 19 2.1 1.5 72 96.4 94.5 3,300 0.5 1.6 17 N/A* N/A* 28
Metropolitan Police 5.5 17.0 1,666 3.3 13.3 993 3.3 5.0 987 85.8 59.8 25,861 2.1 5.0 619 N/A* N/A* 265
Norfolk 0.3 1.1 5 0.5 0.5 7 0.9 1.2 14 98.0 96.5 1,505 0.3 0.6 4 N/A* N/A* 22
North Wales 0.2 0.9 3 0.1 0.2 1 0.5 0.7 8 99.1 97.5 1,452 0.1 0.6 1 N/A* N/A* 25
North Yorkshire 0.3 1.2 4 0.0 0.5 not collected 0.9 0.9 12 98.8 96.6 1,315 0.0 0.8 not collected N/A* N/A* 19
Northamptonshire 1.2 3.3 13 1.1 2.4 13 1.4 2.0 16 96.2 91.5 1,119 0.1 0.8 1 N/A* N/A* 52
Northumbria 0.5 2.7 14 0.1 0.6 4 1.0 0.9 31 98.3 94.6 3,022 0.1 1.3 4 N/A* N/A* 99
Nottinghamshire 2.2 4.4 42 0.8 2.5 16 1.5 2.8 28 95.3 88.8 1,805 0.2 1.4 3 N/A* N/A* 23
South Wales 0.6 2.8 16 0.2 1.0 5 1.4 1.4 40 97.6 93.4 2,828 0.3 1.5 8 N/A* N/A* 19
South Yorkshire 1.9 4.1 45 0.5 1.9 12 1.2 1.5 30 96.4 90.6 2,358 0.1 1.8 2 N/A* N/A* 12
Staffordshire 1.0 3.2 16 0.4 0.8 6 0.9 1.3 14 97.7 94.1 1,549 0.0 0.7 not collected N/A* N/A* 5
Suffolk 0.3 1.5 3 0.4 0.9 4 2.3 1.7 26 96.9 95.2 1,071 0.2 0.6 2 N/A* N/A* 21
Surrey 1.2 4.8 20 0.6 1.1 9 1.6 2.1 26 96.0 90.4 1,582 0.6 1.7 10 N/A* N/A* 346
Sussex 0.3 2.5 8 0.2 0.9 5 1.2 1.9 30 97.8 93.7 2,396 0.4 1.0 10 N/A* N/A* 100
Thames Valley 1.7 8.5 70 0.7 3.0 29 2.2 2.5 90 94.9 84.6 3,822 0.4 1.4 18 N/A* N/A* 38
Warwickshire 3.6 4.2 29 0.1 0.8 1 0.9 1.5 7 94.9 92.7 751 0.5 0.9 4 N/A* N/A* 15
West Mercia 1.0 1.8 20 0.3 0.4 6 1.1 1.1 21 97.4 96.2 1,908 0.2 0.5 4 N/A* N/A* 16
West Midlands 6.1 18.0 396 1.5 6.0 98 2.3 3.5 147 90.0 70.1 5,858 0.2 2.3 12 N/A* N/A* 70
West Yorkshire 3.4 12.6 170 0.5 2.1 27 1.5 2.2 75 94.3 81.8 4,717 0.3 1.4 14 N/A* N/A* 11
Wiltshire 0.5 2.6 5 0.4 0.9 4 0.7 1.4 7 98.2 94.5 975 0.2 0.6 2 N/A* N/A* 2

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • of the 43 police forces, the Metropolitan police in London had the highest percentage of police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined – 14.2% in total
  • the higher percentage of police officers from these ethnic groups in London partly reflects the city’s population as a whole – 40.2% of people in London come from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, the largest percentage for any area of England and Wales
  • in Bedfordshire, 10.3% of police officers came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 22.5% of the overall population in the police force area who came from the same groups
  • in the West Midlands, 10.0% of police officers came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 29.9% of the overall population in the police force area who came from the same groups
  • police forces in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and North Wales had the smallest percentage of officers from an Asian, Black, Mixed or Other background (at 1.2%, 0.9% and 0.9% respectively), which are broadly in line with figures for the overall populations of those areas

Police officers by ethnicity and rank over time

Percentage and number of police officers by ethnicity and rank (2007 and 2017)

Asian Black Mixed Other inc Chinese White Unknown
Rank % 2007 Number 2007 % 2018 Number 2018 % 2007 Number 2007 % 2018 Number 2018 % 2007 Number 2007 % 2018 Number 2018 % 2007 Number 2007 % 2018 Number 2018 % 2007 Number 2007 % 2018 Number 2018 % 2007 Number 2007 % 2018 Number 2018
Chief Officer 2.0 4 1.6 3 0.5 1 1.0 2 1.0 2 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 96.6 196 97.4 187 N/A* 3 N/A* 22
Chief Superintendent 1.3 6 2.1 6 0.6 3 1.1 3 0.6 3 1.4 4 0.2 1 0.4 1 97.2 456 95.1 269 N/A* 0 N/A* 5
Superintendent 1.0 10 1.6 14 0.8 8 0.7 6 0.5 5 1.7 15 0.2 2 0.2 2 97.4 954 95.7 832 N/A* 8 N/A* 23
Chief Inspector 1.0 18 1.4 22 0.5 10 0.6 9 1.2 22 1.3 21 0.1 2 0.1 1 97.2 1,778 96.6 1,522 N/A* 18 N/A* 21
Inspector 1.0 72 2.0 113 0.5 36 0.7 41 0.7 49 1.4 76 0.2 16 0.4 20 97.5 6,790 95.5 5,260 N/A* 69 N/A* 90
Sergeant 1.1 235 1.9 348 0.8 179 0.9 161 0.7 162 1.4 253 0.3 65 0.5 84 97.0 21,026 95.3 17,289 N/A* 283 N/A* 317
Constable 1.6 1,766 3.0 2,760 1.0 1,113 1.3 1,202 1.1 1,176 2.1 1,940 0.5 546 0.8 744 95.7 103,172 92.8 86,146 N/A* 1,618 N/A* 2,571

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Summary

Senior officers include those in the following ranks:

  • Chief Officer
  • Chief Superintendent
  • Superintendent
  • Chief Inspector

This data shows that:

  • as at 31 March 2018, there was a lower percentage of officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined in senior ranks (3.7%) than in the constable rank (7.2%)
  • between 2007 and 2013, the percentage of senior officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 2.8% to 3.9% but remained fairly stable between 2014 and 2018
  • between 2007 and 2018, there was a steady increase in the percentage of constables from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, from 4.3% to 7.2%

Police officers by ethnicity and gender

Number and percentage of police officers by ethnicity and gender (2007 and 2018)

Female Male
Ethnicity Number 2007 % 2007 Number 2018 % 2018 Number 2007 % 2007 Number 2018 % 2018
Asian 402 1.2 675 1.9 1,709 1.6 2,591 3.1
Black 359 1.1 398 1.1 991 0.9 1,026 1.2
Mixed 393 1.2 675 1.9 1,026 1.0 1,634 2.0
Other inc Chinese 130 0.4 213 0.6 502 0.5 639 0.8
White 31,463 96.1 33,645 94.5 102,909 96.1 77,860 93.0
Unknown 371 N/A* 812 N/A* 1,628 N/A* 2,236 N/A*

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2018, there was a higher percentage of male police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (7.0%) than female police officers from the same ethnic groups (5.5%)
  • between 2007 and 2018, the percentage of male police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased slightly faster than the percentage of female police officers from the same ethnic groups

Police workforce by ethnicity and role

Percentage and number of people in the police workforce, by ethnicity and role

Police Officer Police Staff Community support officer Designated Officer Traffic Warden
Ethnicity % Number (FTE) of staff % Number (FTE) of staff % Number (FTE) of staff % Number (FTE) of staff % Number (FTE) of staff
Asian 2.7 3,266 3.2 1,899 4.3 425 2.9 117 0.0 0
Black 1.2 1,424 2.0 1,182 2.7 269 3.0 122 0.0 0
Mixed 1.9 2,309 1.0 596 1.4 136 1.6 63 0.0 0
Other inc Chinese 0.7 852 0.6 352 1.1 108 0.7 29 0.0 0
White 93.4 111,505 93.2 55,239 90.5 8,931 91.9 3,755 100.0 9
Unknown N/A* 3,048 N/A* 3,552 N/A* 271 N/A* 294 N/A* 0

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2018, the percentage of people from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined working as police officers was lower than in other roles within the police workforce
  • 9.5% of police community support officers were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, the highest percentage for any paid role within the police workforce

Special constables by ethnicity

Percentage and number of special constables, and percentage of the overall population (at Census 2011), by ethnicity

Ethnicity % % of population (2011) Number (Headcount) of Special Constables
Asian 6.0 6.8 640
Black 1.9 3.3 204
Mixed 2.0 2.2 209
Other inc Chinese 1.4 1.7 146
White 88.7 86.0 9,423
Unknown N/A* N/A* 1,068

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Summary

Special constables are unpaid volunteers, and therefore not counted as part of the workforce. These figures are based on a headcount (the total number of people working in the role, regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time).

This data shows that:

  • 11.3% of special constables came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, compared with 14.0% of the population in England and Wales
  • while it is not strictly possible to compare data based on headcounts with full-time equivalents, special constables were more ethnically diverse than police officers and others in the police workforce

Methodology

Methodology

Data is collected from each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police.

Police staff report their own ethnicity from a list of 5 options.

Police forces keep records of all their staff on human resources and payroll systems. Data is quality assured by the Home Office and confirmed by police forces before publication.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal point.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2018

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Home Office

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Ethnicity and gender data is used by police forces as part of diversity monitoring schemes.

Download the data

Police Workforce - Aggregate Officer/rank - Spreadsheet (csv) 10 MB

Due to the size of the data, this download has been split into two files: This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, Aggregate Officer/rank, police force area, FTE, headcount, value, rate, proportion of population

Police Workforce - Detailed Officer/ Rank - Spreadsheet (csv) 31 MB

Due to the size of the data, this download has been split into two files: This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, Detailed Officer/Rank, police force area, FTE, headcount, value, rate, proportion of population